Manufacturing & Prototyping

When to 3D Print In House and When to Outsource

Rapid prototyping with 3D printing helps teams communicate with stakeholders and ultimately results in better end products. Download the white paper now if you want more information on:

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, White Papers, Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Automation, Robotics

Will 'read-ahead' algorithms speed up 3D printing?

Our featured INSIDER story today showcased algorithms that allow 3D printers to anticipate motion and "read ahead" of its programming. The Michigan State University readers believe that the faster, more precise builds will allow 3D printers to create products twice as fast.

What do you think? Will 'read-ahead' algorithms speed up 3D printing?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Software

Advancing Thermal Management with Additive Manufacturing

An integral engineering element across major industries, from transportation to electronics, thermal management continues to challenge designers in several applications. 3D printing, aka additive manufacturing (AM), offers a unique solution for next-generation thermal control. With unmatched design freedom for nonlinear geometries, 3D printed parts can increase performance and reduce the size and weight of thermal control systems. In this white paper, discover key areas that AM has been put to use in thermal control, as well as studies and research conducted to validate the additive process for optimized systems.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Thinking Ahead with 3D Printing: Five Technologies to Watch

A 3D printer's moving parts can lead to vibrations and a flawed final product. Engineers at the University of Michigan anticipated the problem — and now, thanks to their algorithms, machines can do the same.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling

Injection Molding Service Saves Time and Money for Spring Manufacturer

Proto Labs
Maple Plain, MN

As products get smaller, their components need to follow suit, and springs are no exception. In a variety of industrial applications, flat-wire wave springs are replacing traditional coil springs. The reason is that a wave spring is half the height of a coil spring, yet can often perform the same job as the coil spring — deflect the same amount of weight under the same load — saving valuable space and, in most cases, weight as well.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Sample Holder for Evaluating Thin Film Sensor Materials in Gaseous Environments

Thin film gas sensors are small, lightweight, and relatively easy to operate; however, the testing of these thin film gas sensors is difficult in harsh environments due to the exposure of critical components to the harsh environment. A need exists for the ability to test thin film gas sensor materials for their response to analytes of interest in a variety of environments, including harsh environments. Currently, a sample holder does not exist that will allow the testing of thin film gas sensor materials in harsh environments. Many of the thin film gas sensors require electrical and mechanical connections in order to operate. Harsh environments tend to degrade many of these connections, compromising sensor performance and shortening sensor lifetime. A sensor holder that provides exposure of the thin film sensor material to the harsh environment, while protecting the electrical and mechanical connections, is needed. The advantages of such a sample holder are that the sensors can be used in a wider range of environments (temperature, humidity, etc.), and a wider range of analytes can be evaluated (hydrazine, ammonia, hydrogen, etc.).

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Gases, Mountings, Test equipment and instrumentation

Diffusion-Bonded CVC SiC for Large UVOIR Telescope Mirrors and Structures

In 2012, the National Research Council called for a new generation of astronomical telescopes to enable discovery of habitable planets, facilitate advances in solar physics, and enable the study of faint structures around bright objects by developing high-contrast imaging and spectroscopic technologies to provide unprecedented sensitivity, field of view, and spectroscopy of faint objects. Large-aperture, lightweight mirrors for UV, Optical and IR (UVOIR) telescopes answer this need. NASA requires low-cost, ultra-stable, large-aperture, normal incidence mirrors with low mass-to-collecting-area ratios. Potential UV/optical missions require 4- to 8- or 16- meter monolithic or segmented primary mirrors with active/passive alignment and control of normal-incidence imaging systems with <10 nm RMS surface figures.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mirrors, Architecture, Optics, Architecture, Optics

Forging Graphene into Three-Dimensional Shapes

Graphene is a relative to graphite, which consists of millions of layers of graphene, and can be found in common pencil tips. Since graphene was isolated in 2004, researchers have learned to routinely produce and handle it. Graphene can be used to make electronic and optoelectronic devices such as transistors, photodetectors, and sensors.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Forming, Graphite, Materials identification

Optofluidic 3D Printing

Optofluidic three-dimensional printing enables advancements and innovation in optical fibers and biomedical devices. This 3D printing approach uses axial plane optical microscopy (APOM) technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fiber optics, Microscopy, Fiber optics, Microscopy, Medical equipment and supplies, Additive manufacturing

Method for Inflating Uniformly Stiff Tubular Booms

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed a foam-rigidized, inflatable, tubular space boom that can be transported, deployed, and inflated at remote locations. The lightweight device consists of an inner and outer sleeve and, in its non-pressurized state, can be accordion-folded into a small storage canister. This allows for simple and compact transportation at a low cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Storage, Foams, Gases, Spacecraft

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